China Says No More Internet Cafes

from the cutting-out-the-dealers dept

The Chinese government has been concerned about internet addiction among the country's population for some time, with internet cafes often pointed to as a significant cause of the supposed problem. Some local and regional officials have tried before to ban the cafes, but that simply sent users underground. Now, however, the national government has banned the opening of any new internet cafes this year, apparently in an attempt to cut down on juvenile crime and internet addiction. It's not clear how not allowing new cafes to open will help actually reduce anything; at best, it might hinder the growth of these problems. The bigger issue, though, is the government's insistence that internet addiction is such a problem, and that cutting down on cafes will help solve it. For instance, when the country's first "halfway house" for young addicts opened, its staff told the story of how one of their first attendees spoke about his "depressive" family situation, and they sent a social worker to talk to his parents. That would seem to have little to do with cafes, and hint at a bigger underlying problem. If internet addiction is such a problem among young people (a government think tank says 13 percent of Chinese internet users under 18 are addicts), examining the issues that lead them to this addiction is the way forward, not attempting to shut down cafes, or use electric acupuncture or shock therapy.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Mr. X, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 2:02pm

    Forget closing cafes...

    China should forget about closing the internet cafes, instead it should just censor out all of the addicting internet content out there so there is no reason for anyone to get addicted in the first place, after all censorship has always worked well for them in the past...

    They could always get their pal Google to help them if they wanted to. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    haywood, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 3:07pm

    Electro shock

    Maybe they need a free internet cafe with metal computers hooked to a stunning charge of electricity. Soon the youths will hesitate to touch any computer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Freeko Deako, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 3:13pm


    "Internet addiction" is a temporary condition and one even the Chinese will get past. They don't need regulation, they need information.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    joseph, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 3:50pm

    are we really naive enought

    to believe that 'Internet addiction' is the real reason for this action. I would be more inclined to believe that control of its populations access to the internet is china's real reason for doing this. While stopping new cyber cafes from opening doesn't seem like much it does seem to fit with there previous actions of censorship and control

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    john john, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 4:11pm

    i would be addicted to the internet too if it was one of my only sources of outside information (censored as it may be)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    A Human Mind, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 5:33pm

    Re: are we really naive enought

    Right, it seems more likely to be about control. Limiting internet cafes is a form of limiting internet anonymity and therefore a form of better tracking of individuals.
    A government "cure" would typically be done through taxation, as on cigarettes, no?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    n3rdkw, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 7:55pm

    It's a not a democracy and you don't get to say crap about the government. Internet opens up a whole new journalism and expression of discontent. Anyone with internet connection and something on his/her mind is a "potential threat" to the government because this person is very likely to write something on the internet that is "anti-government." SO... this whole internet thing poses as a gigantic problem to the government. By the way, the officials don't really care if someone says shit about the government, it's the hard-core communists who stick around in the party that stirs up all the trouble.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    n3rdkw, Mar 6th, 2007 @ 7:57pm


    Excuse me for the excessive use of "government"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 2:55am

    Intenet addiction only seems to occur in China and other totalitarian countries. Shock therapy might work, especially if applied with a strpped mains cable by a guard in a re-education facility to which people get sent to in order to re-learn the virtues of peasant labour as opposed to trying to break therought the Great Firewall.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Scott, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 6:15am

    You said it!!

    This is the first really good article I have read on TechDirt in quite some time!!! You go BOEEEEI!!!! I have been saying the same thing for as long as the claims of Internet Addiction have been rolling off the tongues of the, I guess that is the reason I think this is such a good article, because you are agreeing with me :o)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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